Thursday, September 9, 2010

Yakima Valley is a Top Producer of Mint. Mojitos Anyone?

The Yakima Valley in Washington State, is the United States top producer of peppermint and spearmint oils. According to the Washington Mint Commission, one pound of mint oil can flavor 12,500 sticks of gum or 1000 tubes of toothpaste. In 2008, more than 1.9 million pounds of peppermint oil and nearly 1.8 million pounds of spearmint oil were produced.

How mint oil is made; The mint crop is grown in fields, cut like hay and left to cure for two to five days. The plants are steamed in tubs to release the oils, which become vapor. The steam runs through the condenser which returns it to liquid form, the oil then gets separated from the water.

One doesn't usually think about where mint comes from, but we use mint in so many items, at least once a day. The next time you brush your teeth, use mouthwash, eat a peppermint patty, chew gum or enjoy a Mint Mojito, you have probably tasted a bit of the Yakima Valley. Peppermint and spearmint are used in Chocolate Chip Mint Ice Cream, After Dinner Mints, Peppermint Sticks, Lifesavors, Peppermint Water, Mint Jelly, as a garnish, soaps, scrubs, air freshens and anything else you can think of that contains mint..

And, of course, there is that fresh mint used to make the Yakima Valley Mint Mojito.
Traveling though the Yakima Valley you will want to experience the local Mint Mojito. Visit Gasparettis, Zesta Cucina, 2nd Street Grill, and Tony's Steak House for this refreshing beverage.

Updated 6.2.11

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Harvest Fun-Hay Maze

You know it is harvest time when Jones Farms in Zillah opens the Hay maze and pyramid slide. Children from all over the valley come to enjoy the hay maze while parents shop for fresh produce at the Jones Fruit Stand nearby. You can picnic, feed the ducks at the duck pond take pictures in the antique wagons.

The farm started in 1946 by family patriarch Harvey Jones. The original 320 acre farm has grown consistently and is now run by Harvey’s sons, Dennis and Will and their families.

The Fruit Stand in Zillah was built in 1991 to answer the growing demand for tomatoes, sweet corn, peaches, nectarines and now ½ of the farms total produce is sold

through the stand. Located in the Zillah Rattlesnake Hills wine country, visitors take advantage of both tasting wine in the region and picking up their fresh fruit and produce, by the bag or by the box.

The Jones Family recently expanded their business, opening a Fruit Stand in the city of Yakima at Russell’s Nursery. Now you can purchase fresh farm picked fruits and produce as well as pick up your Halloween carving pumpkin in Yakima.

The Zillah Jones Farms Fruit Stand is open 8a.m.-5p.m. daily.

The Jones Fruit Stand at Russells Nursery, 6710 Tieton Drive, Yakima WA 98908 is open Monday through Friday from 9a.m-6p.m. and Sunday 10a.m.-5p.m.

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